Queen of the Skies
Royal Air Force VC 10 C1K, K3 and K4

No. 101 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton,

It is increasingly rare these days to be privileged to enjoy a day with the Royal Air Force and have the freedom to closely inspect one of the icons of air transport, namely the Vickers VC10.

First flown in 1962 the VC 10s of today's Royal Air Force fulfil several roles: The VC 10 C1K is a dual roll aircraft for Air Transport (AT) and Air Refuelling (AR). For carrying troops it can accommodate 137 passengers and 9 crew, it can be easily converted to freight or a combination of passengers and freight (PCF). For Medivac up to 68 stretchers with casualties can be carried with accompanying medical staff. In 1993 the aircraft were converted to a tanker/air transport role with the addition of refuelling pods under the outboard section of each wing. Other VC 10s are K3 and K4 models used solely for Air Refuelling, the K3 has in addition to its wing tanks large tanks in what was the passenger cabin and can carry up to 78 tons of fuel which is available for transfer to either fighter types or 'heavy' aircraft at a rate of up to 2,000kg per minute.

Although these aircraft are long in the tooth, they are true workhorses of the Royal Air Force having been involved in the majority of conflicts over the past 30 years, it remains a very capable aircraft although now a replacement is being sought to replace the VC 10 in RAF service, hopefully, for a few years to come the VC 10 will be enjoyed by those who appreciate these great aeroplanes as they operate out of this busy Oxfordshire base of RAF Brize Norton.

Within continental Africa Air Malawi operated civilian models into the late 1970s, BOAC/BA were a familiar sight throughout Africa with their aircraft until the Boeing 747 replaced in the early 1970s.